Ajahn Khemasiri was born in Magdeburg in former East Germany in 1950. He first became interested in Buddhism in 1977 in Berlin, after having met two respected monks from the Tibetan tradition, the late 16th Karmapa and Kalu Rimpoche.
In early 1978 in London, he encountered Ajahn Sumedho – the senior Western disciple of the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah – and was inspired to begin Dhamma practice under his guidance. Eventually he moved to England and in 1984 became a postulant (Anagarika) in the newly opened Amaravati Buddhist Centre. In 1986 he was granted acceptance into the Bhikkhu Sangha at Chithurst Forest Monastery (Cittaviveka). He spent his primary monastic years in several British monasteries and then moved on to Dhammapala Monastery in the Swiss Bernese Oberland in 1993. His time at Dhammapala was interrupted in 1995 by an extended visit to the Buddhist holy places in Nepal and India and an almost four-year stay in monasteries and secluded places in Thailand and Burma. He returned to Switzerland at the end of 1999 and in 2005 became the successor to Ajahn Thiradhammo as the leader of the small monastic community in Kandersteg.
In 2018 he relinquished his administrative and leadership duties, passing on the responsibilities to his successor Ajahn Abhinando. During the following approx. two years he visited several European branch monasteries, which included extensive stays at Santacittarama in Italy, Tisarana Monastery in Ontario/Canada and Amaravati Monastery in England. He returned to Dhammapala in July 2020 as a GEM to the local community – a Guiding Elder Monk – which is a gracious but deliberately nebulous description of his new role within the Swiss monastery.